Local resilience, canola cropping, and biodiesel production Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/fq977x88q

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  • New technology may have negative, as well as positive, effects on a sociocultural system. Biodiesel is growing in popularity as a fuel alternative that addresses global warming and reduces dependency on petroleum. The biodiesel innovation fits well into the existing behavioral infrastructure of Linn and Benton Counties, Oregon. The introduction of this technology fuels two community-based biodiesel initiatives: the Corvallis Biodiesel Cooperative (CBC) and the OSU Biodiesel Initiative (OBI). However, the increasing demands for biodiesel increases the demand for vegetable oil. Canola is the most efficient oil producing crop suggested for the southern Willamette Valley of Oregon. Canola cropping fits into the behavioral infrastructure of local grass seed growers' tradition. However, canola cropping presents outcrossing risks to neighboring specialty seed and organic growers. This calls into question the resilience and sustainability of canola cropping. The decisions made about biodiesel production and oilseed cropping will impact the future environment, culture, political autonomy, and sustainability of this local community. The dominant values that serve this community will determine the resilience of culture and identity that is maintained or emerges in the face of social-ecological challenges and technological innovations. The research methodology includes interviews, participant observation, and informational media to triangulate data. These methods serve to inform an integrated framework of holistic, values analysis, social-ecological, and cultural materialism theoretical approaches. The holistic approach provides the behavioral components and the values analysis approach provides the mental components that are integrated into a cultural materialism framework. These components are evaluated by the social-ecological approach. Evaluation of the CBC and OBI suggests that values play a greater role in cultural materialism than previously believed. A new theoretical perspective emerges to explain resilience and causal effects. The social-ecological approach, illustrated by panarchy theory, is also integrated into the cultural materialism approach. The integration of the four theoretical approaches, and the emergence of a new theoretical perspective, provides a means to explain resilience and sustainability for the CBC and OBI. This integrated approach also examines three potential paths of resilience and sustainability for the grass seed, specialty seed, and organic growing traditions. Path A predicts long-term resilience and sustainability for grass seed growers and canola cropping, but collapse for the specialty seed and organic growing traditions. Path B predicts that a proposed regulated canola cropping compromise will only prolong the inevitable collapse of the specialty seed and organic growing traditions. Along both Paths A and B, diversity is lost from the sociocultural system as specialty seed and organic growing traditions decline. Canola cropping increases the potential for energy security, but food security is reduced. Path C suggests how to maintain the current sociocultural system of grass seed, specialty seed, and organic growing traditions and promote long-term resilience and sustainability.
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